What does this really signify? (rhetorical tags)

< Previous | Next >

Spira

Banned
UK English
Very difficult thread to start, as voice intonation is important.
Preferably with a British accent.
Many young people say things like: "So I went to this club, righ'? And I saw this man, yeah? And he gave me this stuff, righ'? So I took it???"

What is the significance of all the questions? They really think I can't follow? Or maybe they are looking for some sort of approval?
 
  • KrazyFK

    New Member
    English - England
    The questioning tone is often used to liven up a story that is being told, rather than to pose an actual question.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Truth be told, I see no more logic to those particular tag questions and expressions than
    like, you know, any of the habitual crutches that have unfortunately cropped up on both sides of the pond over the years.

    Ya know whudeye mean?
     

    City Slicker

    Member
    English (USA)
    I have heard this too. I find that it is very common for certain regions (Canada, California, for example) and age groups (25 and younger) to turn all of thier statements into questions. It's the intonation that they use. I believe it's specific to age and regional dialect.

    Either that or these are people who really are unsure of themselves and need constant approval :)
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Yes, the approval explanation does seem to explain it.
    But it's in every sentence for some of them, so it probably just becomes a habit.

    By the way, I have three children who speak French most of the time, and they don't do it. Even if there is an aquivalent in French to "y'know?".
    What's the US equivalent to my "righ'?" in these dialogues? (London accent, bordering on the cockney).
     
    Last edited:

    JetSetJake

    New Member
    English - UK
    They're just fillers really.

    They're not questions - even of the rhetorical kind and the person isn't expecting you to say: "yes, that's right" after each little pause. If anything it could be a way of checking that the listener is indeed listening, but the way they're used and the speed at which they're delivered (with no pause before beginning the next clause) would suggest this is not the case either.

    These fillers annoy some people because they interrupt fluency and make the speech sound inarticulate.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Yes, I know (deep down) that they are fillers, but they question me in a way that "y'know" does not. It's the rhetorical question mark that perplexes.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Yes, exactly, sdgraham.
    And probably yes, City slicker, except that over here the "you know" doesn't really carry the question mark. It's more of an affirmation (even if you don't know !!!)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top